PACE — The sound of the engines and the thrill of driving in high speed chases is a key factor that keeps a lot of racers going. For Ryan Fowler, it has kept him coming back to the track for 25 years.
Fowler said he started racing when he was 13 years old. He began running in the hobby class racing circuit in 1994.
"Dad bought me my first car to keep me out of trouble," he said. "It was a 1979 (Chevy) Camaro."
After five years of racing, Fowler experienced his first taste of victory in 1999. He said he felt excited about his first win but noticed his view of racing changed afterward.
"When I first started racing it was for fun," he said. "But then I got more competitive and it took some of the fun out of it."
Fowler said he still races for the fun of it but it's for a different kind of fun now - the competitive kind.
But Fowler said when he is on the track, it is not all about the competitiveness of the race and coming in first for him. He said being on the track is calming and peaceful for him. While on the track he said he doesn't have to worry about cell phones ringing or any other distractions and he can focus just on racing.
After spending half his life racing as a hobby, Fowler said he would have liked to go professional in the sport, but admits that he has passed the age limit to start now. But, he said he still has plenty of advice to give to young hopefuls interested in the sport.
"Racing is pretty much a lifestyle," he said. "You have to be at it every day. Be patient and slowly progress."
Fowler, who has won 8 track championships in various divisions and 150 feature wins at various tracks, said he will race as long as physically possible. He said he couldn't have done any of this without the support of his sponsors, pit crew, and family -- especially his biggest supporter and sponsor, his father.